Celebrity chef Richard Blais has a lot on his plate! In addition to his recent winnings on Top Chef: All Stars, the 39-year-old chef also just welcomed his second child with wife Jazmin. Proud dad to daughters Riley, 3, and Embry, 7 months, Richard opens up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about his humble beginnings in the world of culinary arts: “I was a latchkey kid and I often cooked or threw together food for myself.”
Richard also talks about his experiences on Top Chef , fool-proof tricks for picky eaters, and teaming up with Healthier Generation to help end childhood obesity.
CBS: Tell us about your involvement with Alliance for a Healthier Generation‘s fight against childhood obesity.
RB: “I have two young daughters at home and having them eat and grow up healthy is important. I grew up in a weird generation, the beginning of convenience foods, easy microwave calorie bombs, etc. I was a latchkey kid and I often cooked or threw together food for myself. I’d make cookie cereal for breakfast and serve it with heavy whipping cream because it tasted good. I made bologna sandwiches and squished in a bag of sour cream potato chips for texture and salt. I was actually cooking with instinct, but I didn’t know any better. My parents were working, and nutrition just wasn’t a topic in our house. I want to raise awareness and help kids eat and cook better so they can live happier, it’s that simple.”
CBS: What can parents do to help their kids stay healthy?
RB: “Cook more together, and go out to local restaurants and ask for healthier items. At home, make it family time. It’s so easy to find healthy recipes for any type of food these days. Take a family vote or take turns selecting the dishes served. Shop and cook together – the more hands involved, the easier it is to make fresh food.”
CBS: Congratulations to you and wife Jazmin on the arrival of baby Embry! Is she giving you any rest?
RB: “Embry Lotus Blais sleeps through the night and she is doing amazing. She’s really digging her squash puree right now.”
CBS: Do you make all of Embry’s baby food? Is she a good eater?
RB: “I don’t make all of her baby food, we make some. She’s a great eater, much more so than her older sister Riley was at her age.”
CBS: How did your elder daughter Riley (is she 3 now?) adjust to big-sisterhood? Is she good with the baby? Is she excited to be a big sister?
RB: “Ri Bread is 3 correct. She loves being a big sister. She squeezes, hugs and kisses Em a bit too much, but she’s a great kid.”
CBS: Does Riley enjoy cooking and baking with you? Do you think it’s important to include kids in the cooking process?
RB: “Yes, Riley often asks to cook. We make pasta, bread, she’s starting to even do prep work with a little safe knife. She stirs and tosses stuff in, and gets involved. I think it’s great. She’s knows what whole foods are, and it’s so important. But, she also likes mac & cheese and chicken tenders, etc. It’s about a balance.”
CBS: What’s your best advice to our readers with picky eaters? What are some of your fool-proof recipes and tricks?
- Small chop veggies into tomato sauce or as pizza toppings.
- Vinegar: a splash of vinegar on veggies!
- Suggesting their friends like or eat things works for Riley, she’s competitive. So if I say her friend Olivia eats eggplant, it usually works.
- Feed them what you eat, not entirely separate meals, they get a taste for pieces, etc, and it’s also less work for your kitchen!
CBS: What’s your best advice to our readers who say they don’t have enough time in their day to cook home-made meals?
RB: “Cook in bigger batches and chill or freeze. I’m a one pot home cook myself, and you’ll be amazed how far a gallon of turkey bolognese or Indian spiced chick peas can go.”
CBS: You won Top Chef: All-Stars and you were runner up on the fourth season of Top Chef. Did you enjoy competing in those shows?
RB: “I love everything about all of my experiences on Top Chef. It’s a wonderful franchise that’s great for our industry and American home cooking, and I’m fortunate to be a part of it.”
CBS: What’s up next for you?